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SW's JOURNAL

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WHAT IS YOUR IKIGAI?: WHAT IS YOUR REASON FOR BEING?

Samantha Wills

A lot of people ask me how I find my passion and my response is always this: whatever you find yourself doing when you feel you are 'wasting time', find a way to make that a part of your career. Starting out - this was a problem I DIDN'T have - I had no hesitation in turning my hobby into my career. It was the ultimate way of living my passion. Something I would have been doing even if I wasn't making any money out of it. 

I have been working on the SAMANTHA WILLS brand for nearly 12 years. And it has gotten me out of bed for about 11 of those years. Because there have been times; sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes weeks, and sometimes (but rarely) months when I haven't had that spark to give it my everything. I was always inspired by my team & by everyone who followed the brand... But there were some days where I would rather have removed my fingernails with pliers than design another piece of jewelry. Sounds dramatic, huh? It was! When those kind of days rolled into weeks or even months, it was terrifying. It felt like I had a weight on my shoulders, heavy with this kind of black & white feeling: I knew I LOVED what I did and had no intention of walking away from it, but I wasn't loving it as much as I once had. 

At just the right time, an incredible opportunity came up with YELLOWGLEN to create the PEACOCK LANE By Samantha Wills brand. I will discuss that in depth in future posts, but it ignited something new in me, which in turn, reignited the passion that was in me all along. I realized I was at a point in my career where I needed to diversify my projects. Having a singular focus was neither exciting nor challenging me anymore, and it wasn't making me the best creative I knew I could be. 

The YELLOWGLEN project showed me what to look for, which then encouraged me to explore other external projects. Some were collaborations, and others I managed directly (like the SW Foundation!). Even though my work load increased, the stress of having one thing as my sole focus lifted, and my mind started working in beautiful overdrive. An overdrive of new ideas for current projects, and ideas for projects I didn't even know existed yet! It is 'Mind Overdrive' that gets me out of bed for my job.

I have read a few articles on the Japanese words; Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai]) meaning "a reason for being". Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of one's self. 

I think the below diagram displays it perfectly. 

So if you are searching for your passion, I encourage you to look at what you are doing when you feel that you are wasting time, and see if there is a way you can turn that into an element of your career. Also, really take the time to use the diagram below. Maybe print it out & make notes on each section? Be messy, be unconventional, be brave. At this part of the searching stage, I also suggest you forget the money factor (or at least leave it till last). First find your passion, then work out how to monetize it. 

While this post is related specifically to finding a career passion, I will be writing in upcoming posts about finding what your passions in life are (outside of your career). You would think this would be easy, but when I commercialized my hobby into a career, I had to find new hobbies and actually really struggled with it! SO more on that soon!

But for the mean time, if you are thinking of a career change but are not sure what you want to do? Immerse yourself in finding your Ikigai. - SWx